Station Eleven is a great book. Our editors rated it with a top 5 stars.
User reviews about the book
Wonderfully woven story
I skipped this book a dozen times due to the poorly written blurb about a post-Apocalyptic traveling Shakespeare company.
That exists in the book, but the book is about humanity and hope and survival and what that actually *means* and the blurb, to me, represented a pretension and perspective that is otherwise absent in a well-written and thoughtful perspective on the end of the world.
By Sandra huang
Easy to read, I can't put down my book.
This is not your typical post apocalypse novel. On rare occasions you find a story that you don't want to end, this is that book!
I do not like the writing style at all. The beginning had me hooked. Then.. It just went downhill from there. Not a fan at all.
You might be thinking... just another apocalypse story, right? Well, I think this one is special. It is super interesting, imaginative, stylistically distinct and it has complex repeating themes. Plus, I could not put it down. I read it in four sittings and stayed up way too late because I could not stop.
Literary Post-apocalyptic world
Emily St. John Mandel has taken a more literary slant to her post-apocalyptic world than the bulk of them out there. You won't find many action filled scenes of crazed road-warriors or zombies or gun-toting survivalists chasing down the 'good-guys'. There are no long explanations of how society collapsed, instead the story focuses on a handful of characters, before and after the plague that wipes out most of the world's population.
The major players in the story are all connected, yet they connect through tenuous threads, and there is no big moment where their stories converge. Kirsten was a child actor when the end came, and now, travel with a symphony and acting troop that performs Shakespeare and Shakespeare and his world - another impacted by plague - serve as metaphors. Arthur is an actor and has a heart-attack on stage the night the plague strikes. His ex-wives and his son, are three more threads. There is Arthur's friend Clark, and the paramedic who was in the theater that night. There is a comic book that ties several characters together, that impacts how they understand this new world.
Mandel uses the plague to explore philosophy more than the how the world would fall apart and that is the power of her story. The rumination by characters on art and music, the value of items no longer of use, whether the past should be let go or taught, and so much more, all layered over the threads that connect the characters, seen and unseen. Mandel weaves back and forth between the past and the present, and moves from individual story to story, building the larger story.
The characters are fully realized and they are a cross-section of flawed humanity. Mandel's descriptions of both the world before and the world after are beautiful and frightening and vivid. There is hope in the new world, but their is an arbitrariness that undercuts that hope. There is a brutality to the new world but there is also a beauty to it as well. In the end, Station Eleven is a novel of the end of the world, but more importantly it is about how that end impacts a few individuals. The focus never wavers from the personal and it is the power of Mandel's narrative.
Good but did not end
Like other reviews it did seem to slow at points.
But kept reading because i wanted to see how all the characters connected. Just when it seemed like it would, the book ended? Second book coming??